Karachista: A breath of sophistication

Breathe, a new boutique on the block, is an oasis of scents and diffusers.

Salima Feerasta June 06, 2013
Breathe, a new boutique on the block, is an oasis of scents and diffusers.


In search of the perfect gift? Look no further than Breathe, a marvelous little store that has just opened in Defence. Breathe is a home scents and stationery store and simply oozes the concept of aspirational living.

The tiny boutique is a haven of chic — elegant, sophisticated and utterly charming. With its cool black and white décor, Breathe is an oasis of heavenly scents and pretty diffusers.

Owned by Asya Jalil and Maham Asaf, Breathe would not look out of place tucked into an expensive corner of Notting Hill in London. It’s rare to find stores in Pakistan that have given this much thought to the shopping experience as well as to the merchandise. Breathe’s minimalist interior displays artistic floral diffusers and gift boxes. Chunky lab-style glass bottles hold samples of the scents while a delicate bureau houses elegant stationery.

The décor and merchandise is very Jo Malone but the prices, thankfully, are nowhere near as high.

“We wanted to offer something attractive yet affordable,” says Jalil. “Nothing in the boutique will set you back more than Rs2,500.” Despite this, the merchandise has a very high-end feel.

Asaf elaborates, “We sell the sort of pretty things we love to have in our own homes. There’s something so satisfying about surrounding your senses with beauty. A serene and attractive environment is likely to bring you joy in little ways that are hard to define. And scent is an integral part of that.”

It’s undoubtedly necessary to have something to counter that indoor fug that results from the heat and humidity in Karachi. Breathe’s essential oil-based home scents are 100% organic and eco-friendly. They are world away from the chemical smelling air freshener sprays and plug-ins in the market. The added advantage of using diffusers to deliver home scents is that there is no flame involved. This makes them perfect for use anywhere, from offices to children’s rooms.

In fact, Breathe has a rather fabulous children’s line, which includes scented stuffed animals for drawers, scented fabric cupcakes and cups of scented gel.

The scents themselves are divided into four families — wood, floral, herb and fruity. Each section contains five or six unique scents that are available in a range of beautiful diffusers.

The diffusers are all handmade and wood based but range from simple reeds to extravagant flowers. The flowers are particularly gorgeous. Initially off-white, their delicate petals often change colour, once you dip the wick in the scent. There’s no telling what colour the flower may turn, though some of those in store ranged from green to pink-tipped black.

The scents themselves are wonderful and light yet distinct. From the masculine woody scents to the clear herbal ones, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste. Asaf’s personal favourite is frangipani, an exotic flower that smells very similar to the local favourite, motia.

Jalil meanwhile, prefers the woody fresh scent of the Nile Forest.

Breathe offers refills, so when your scent runs out, you can replace it with any scent from their range. They also sell replacement diffusers and make up customised gift boxes in tasteful packaging.

Their stationery line is similarly understated yet refined. There are pretty journals, notepads, cards and notelets. All are digitally-printed on high quality paper. The quirky cards say everything from “OMG” to “congratulations” and are blank inside instead of having mawkish generic messages.

All of their stationery can be personalised in any quantity, from one to a 1000 or more. Their personal stationery range is particularly lovely. These are sets of letter-paper, notelets and cards stamped in gold with a fleur-de-lys, lotus leaf or butterfly. They can be fully personalised and are perfect for handwritten notes — so much more intimate than an email.

This niche boutique is a welcome, affordable addition to the Karachi scene. So much thought has been put into the merchandise that it’s the ideal spot for housewarming, birthday and other gifts. It’s also perfect for a little personal indulgence in the love of beautiful things.

Oxford-grad Salima Feerasta is a social commentator and lover of style in any form or fashion. She blogs at karachista.blogspot.com and tweets @karachista

Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2013.

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amna | 8 years ago | Reply

Great job. I will must go there.

Zain Fazal | 8 years ago | Reply

I believe it is located on Bukhari Commercial Area Lane 1 in phase 8. Same lane as Neco's and Bina Khan's.

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